Today, the four of us went on a morning trip to the Imperial War Museum North to take a look at their planned half term activities.
To my shame I don’t think I have actually been to the Imperial War Museum North, despite it being not too far from where we live and having been open for some 14 years! It’s the age-old thing of never really being a tourist in your own home town.
The building itself is quite striking and when I checked back on the website it says that the design of the building is based on ‘the concept of a world shattered by conflict, a fragmented globe reassembled in three interlocking shards’ and that the three shards ‘represent conflict on land, water and in the air’. It certainly looks impressive. It actually really strange inside, and purposely so. It slopes and is a little bewildering, it is designed to reflect war. It does it very well.
There is stacks of stuff available for families, and as Daniel and Emma get older and more aware of museums then we will certainly be visiting here much more often. There are lots of activities and hands on bits that kids love. The facilities are also pretty good, which is important when taking children. As you would expect from a fairly modern building it is very pushchair (and thus wheelchair) friendly, although we did have Emma in the Ergo carrier so it wasn’t really a concern for us today.
When we arrived we were taken to a story telling session, I am always a bit wary of these as I have a toddler who likes to run and rarely sits to listen to this sorts of things. In true form Daniel did have me chasing him around the museum (lots of Wows at the tank and car!) but Damian tells me that the lady who ran the storytelling session was really engaging and that the children were all very engaged with it. Certainly the bits of the Sailor’s Story I heard were great and very participative for young children. Over the half term I think these sessions will be run at 10:30 (Animals at Sea story) and at 1:30 (A Sailor’s Story).
We then headed over to the Open Studio to do some craft activities. This was great, a little play area for Emma and lots of arty materials to get Daniel and the older children drawing. This will be a great area to visit for families as it breaks up the museum.
When of the most exciting things at IWM North is the Air Shard. It takes you 100 feet into the air and you get the most amazing views across Salford Quays and Manchester. It is spectacular. I’m not a huge fan of high things so I was a little wary of peering out too far, but we did get a great look at the views across my beloved home city and spotted the famous cobbles of Coronation Street. It is well worth the small charge of £1.20.
We had a lovely few hours at IWM and the children enjoyed it very much. We finished the day off with a coffee and the children enjoyed a ration pack. the food for kids was good with plenty of choice for a packed lunch style meal. The cafe itself over looks Salford Quays and is very beautiful.
I can wholeheartedly recommend a family visit there over the half term break. There is so much to see and do and with it being such a recent history it will really touch you and make you hungry to learn more, and hopefully trigger that interest in history with your children. The space is very open and child friendly, lots of space for toddlers and crawlers to make their way around (as I found out!)
If I was a half decent blogger I would have some great pictures of the museum and the children enjoying themselves, but it’s a bit hard to take a picture when you’re chasing after a two year old who has decided he wants to look at every vehicle possible, and as I took off after him I left the camera with Damian. So, I have a few pics below of the view from the Air Shard. My other pics have other bloggers’ children on and I don’t want to share those for obvious reasons.
The Imperial War Museum North is open daily 10:00 – 18:00 and entry is free. There is a £1.20 fee (60p for concessions) to go up to the Air Shard. There is a lovely onsite cafe that sells a range of foods. There is stacks and stacks of stuff taking place over the half term break, so if you are out and about in Manchester and looking for something to do then I can really recommend a visit.
We were invited to attend a blogger morning at Imperial War Museum to look at their planned half term programme. All words and opinions are my own and I have not received payment for this post.